Improving Mental Health Self-Care
Improving your mental health care self-care by creating and using a mental health routine can lead you to be happier and healthier.
We all hear about the importance of self-care, but oftentimes it is viewed as nothing more than pampering yourself with a long bubble bath. Self-care is so much more. For anyone who suffers from a mental health illness, most turn to therapies and medication as a first choice, but lifestyle changes, including routines, can make a huge impact. A daily mental health routine will allow you to focus on yourself and your needs.
Benefits of a daily mental health routine:
Improving your mental health self-care will have a number of benefits for you. It will affect not just your mental health but your physical health as well.
Keeps Anxiety Low
If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, a mental health self-care routine can help. It’s not a cure. You’ll still have anxiety, but a daily routine can help keep it in check and help minimize anxious feelings that occur when you engage in bad habits.
Part of your mental health routine should be to have a positive start to your morning. Create a routine around things that make you feel good. For example, you might engage on social media first thing so that you can check in with friends and family, but social media can often have a negative impact on your mindset.
A better morning routine will focus on your mindset and setting yourself up for a better day. Removing triggers will help.
Reduces Daily Stress
In addition to helping with anxiety a mental health routine can also reduce stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by life, having a routine to improve your mental health can help reduce that stress.
If you don’t have a good work-life balance, especially if you work from home, you need to build in some structure to minimize that stress. You might feel like there’s never enough time to get everything done and you feel bad that you didn’t finish everything.
A daily routine can force you to create better boundaries which will give you better balance. For example, you can go out to lunch instead of eating at your desk (working or staring at work). It doesn’t have to be a meal at a restaurant if you’re worried about money. Take your homemade lunch outside or to a different area. It will give you a much-needed break.
Using a planner to organize the tasks you need to complete will also help with the overwhelm. You’ll be able to see what needs to get done and you can prioritize the tasks to fit into an appropriate time frame.
Commitment to Healthy Habits
Once you manage to incorporate a mental health self-care routine into your life, it will be easier for you to commit to other healthy habits. When you experience the benefits of incorporating mental health into your self-care routine, you’ll be motivated to add other habits and routines that are good for you.
Often, we are reluctant to do things that we know are good for us because it’s hard to build routines and the motivation is not strong enough. But when we are successful, we want to feel more success. We are willing to look for other ways to reap the benefits of healthy habits.
So now that you can see the benefits of adding mental health into your self-care routine, the question becomes, How?
5 things to incorporate in your mental health self-care:
Choose a Healthy Diet
You don’t need to change everything at once, but if you incorporate some healthier choices into your meals, you will feel better. Studies have shown that our diet impacts our mental health. If our body feels good, it’s easier for our mind to be in a better place.
If your body is healthy, you are more open to feeling positive things such as enthusiasm, joy, happiness, and those feelings help guard against mental health issues.
Reduce Reliance on Vices
We all have our vices. Some vices are worse than others. Obviously, alcohol or substance abuse needs to be managed for both your physical and mental health. Alcohol or substance use can lead to the worsening of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Learning to manage your intake is a necessity for your mental health.
But many people have other vices, such as caffeine, junk food, video games, or even social drama. None of these things are horrible in moderation, but for some, moderation doesn’t come easy. Learning to cut back can improve your mental well-being.
Take a Time Out
We live in a loud, constantly moving society. The hustle and bustle can be overwhelming. For some of us, though, the noise seems to go unnoticed. Kids yelling, radio blaring, TV playing, phone ringing…we get used to it all.
Taking a time out and truly sitting in quiet can do wonders for your mental health. Silence allows you to focus on your thoughts and feelings. It’s a time that you can meditate if that’s your thing. Quiet time can help you be more mindful and present in your life.
Employ Stress Management Techniques
I mentioned above that one of the benefits of incorporating mental health into your self-care routine is lower stress. You still need strategies or techniques to make that happen. Sometimes people aren’t sure where to start. Here are some techniques that you might want to try:
- Progressive muscle relaxation (body scan)
- Deep breathing
- Tai Chi
- Hobbies – knitting, reading, drawing, baking — anything that makes you happy when you do it
Being proactive in your stress management is important. It’s easy to just complain about how stressed you are and make yourself miserable. What are you going to do about it? Most people will say they don’t have time.
That’s why I’m talking about incorporating this into your self-care routine. (And the importance of creating such a routine if you don’t already have one).
Talk It Out
If something is bothering you or there is an issue on your mind, talking with someone about it can help. When you bottle things up, your mental health suffers. Your stress will increase and your sleep may suffer. As that negativity builds in your body, it could result in greater problems such as depression or stomach ulcers.
I know that sometimes you can’t confront the person who is causing the issue. If your boss is stressing you out, you can’t just yell at him or her. However, suppressing those feelings isn’t healthy. If you struggle with mental health illnesses, hopefully, you have a therapist.
However, even if you think that working with a therapist isn’t for you, you should still talk through problems and issues. Talk it out with a loved one or trusted friend. Try to be cognizant, though, to prevent every interaction with that friend from becoming a bitchfest. Just as bottling things up is unhealthy for you, to be on the receiving end of someone else’s unhappiness isn’t healthy either.
Yes, we want to be there for our friends, but you need balance in those relationships too.
Hopefully, you can see the importance of not just having a self-care routine, but making sure that mental health is part of that routine.